Fifty States Of Fiction: California


We can’t always travel to the places on our bucket list. But we can go there with books! I started the Fifty States Of Fiction challenge with the aim of reading one book from every state in the country. Each week in 2017 I’ll be here to talk about a different state, share with you some geographical fun facts, and explore how a novel, play, or personal narrative captures the essence of the area. Want to follow along? Check out this free printable calendar I’ve created just for you! Let’s get started!


Today’s State: California

Nickname: Golden State

Motto: “I Have Found It”

Bird: California valley quail

Flower: Golden poppy

Entered the union in: 1850

Now, pack your bags everybody. We’re about to explore California as John Steinbeck portrays it in Of Mice And Men.


Although Lennie and George arrive to work on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, they have dreams of a different place entirely. Their paradise consists of a small little shack, kept all to themselves, on an acre of land that they own. Someday they’ll grow vegetables in a garden patch and raise chickens and rabbits. They’ll work hard in the summer and listen to the cold rain patter on the rooftop in the winter. All this they desire while on the sandy, tree-lined bank of the deep, green river water. To one side are the Gabilan Mountains, standing tall and basking in the golden glaze of the setting sun. To the other side are the trees, willows and sycamores cut through by a path that leads straight up to the highway. Behind them, the crumpled leaves form a layer of brush thick enough to conceal even the largest of secrets. Should Lennie get himself into trouble, he knows to return to this spot. He knows to burry himself in the brush and wait for George. He knows that, soon enough, his friend will return to that very same spot and save him.

Have you read any other books set in California? Have you traveled there yourself? Make sure to let me know what the Golden State means to you in the comments! Check back here next week to explore Colorado through literature.

And remember, if you want to keep up with our schedule as we travel the country, you can download my free printable calendar.

See you all next week!


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